January 2010 Primo and I have returned from his parents, have been to see my mom. All our family duties discharged, in a ratio of about 40 to 1, his parents to my mother. Well, not that bad. More like - well, whatever. I don't feel like doing the math, but we've been to his mom and dad's at least once a year, plus he goes on his own, and he and I have been to my mom's twice.
He points out that my mom visits us and his parents do not.
Thank God for small miracles.
When my mom visits, it is a pleasure. Well, it is for us, anyhow. When she came last summer, she arrived the night before our basement flooded, so she got to spend the next day helping us dry the carpet. She might not be so eager to come again next year. But even when she would visit me in my old house, she would arrive with tools and gardening supplies. She would do a preliminary inspection of the house and yard in the evening and the next day, she would get to work.
My mother is not one to sit around doing nothing.
Am I complaining?
Nope. I have my grandmother's irises in my flowerbeds now thanks to my mom. And, of course, we saved the TV room carpet.
The one time his mom and dad were here - for the wedding they threatened to boycott - they had to be entertained. Primo took off the Monday, but had to work that Tuesday and Wednesday before my family arrived. They could not figure what to do with themselves without a TV. (Our TV is in the basement and they can't take the stairs.) I find it amazing that two intellectuals couldn't just spend a day reading. But no.
Anyhow. I am drifting off topic, as I am wont to do. We are back home. Three weeks after leaving Sly and Doris. Primo has his regular mandated phone call. He gets off the phone, comes downstairs.
"My mom was upset that you didn't eat her onion rings at supper."
"What are you talking about?"
"When we were there."
"She said something?"
"The onion rings I made so she wouldn't have to stand there for half an hour?"
"She's been stressing about this for three weeks?"
"She thinks you didn't like them."
"She says she is reaching out to you and you keep rejecting her."
"Because I didn't eat her onion rings?"
"Do you think maybe your mom is just a little bit self centered?"
He sighs. He's the one who is actually related to them. I have the luxury of getting to be dramatic, loud and indignant. I have told him that one of the reasons I think he likes me is I am allowed to say a lot of the things he thinks and feels.
"Is it possible that one, I ate a whole bunch of onion rings while I was frying them or two, I just wasn't that hungry because I am taking migraine drugs that kill my appetite? Or three, maybe I don't like onion rings and if I don't SO WHAT? And guess what? None of these possibilities have anything to do with your mother! None of them! Why is she trying to make this about her? It's not always about her!"
Yes, I am over-reacting.
But so is Doris.
You may have noticed that this is a common theme with Sly and Doris: the delayed, petulant reaction to a seemingly innocuous event that could have been addressed at the time.
But rather than say something at the table like, "That Woman, would you like some onion rings?" thus giving me the chance to answer with, "No thank you, Doris, I'm already full from stuffing myself while I was frying them" or "No thank you, Doris, my medication kills my appetite," or even a simple, "No thank you, Doris," Doris waits three weeks to complain.
I can't even say, "No thank you, Doris." A "No thank you" is considered by most to be a sufficient, polite response that does not permit further pressing. Some people consider it rude to comment on what someone eats or does not eat.
But then, some people consider it rude not to provide lunch for their guests.
I am living in an alternative universe.